Goal line technology in football: innovation vs. tradition

Football has always been a sport slow on innovations. While tennis and volleyball have already introduced technological improvements to the game, football has only recently decided to implement similar “challenge technologies”. The truth is that many football rule makers are conservative former players, who believe that the sport should be played as it always was.

No technologies in football back then...

No technologies in football back then…

However, due to numerous controversies in recent years, in 2014 the governing body of the Premiership (the most watched football league in the world) decided to introduce the long-awaited Goal-line technology. With the experiments with goalside referees and television replays considered flops, it is high-time the sport evolved.

The main idea behind the system is that it informs the referee whether the ball has crossed the goal line and therefore deciding whether a goal should be awarded. The system communicates automatically with the referees watch, sending an alert indicating “Goal” or “No-Goal”.

However, not all goal line technologies work in the same way. There are two types of systems implemented around the world:

  1. A camera-based system (14 high-speed cameras mounted around the stadium – GoalControl)
  2. A magnetic field/chip based system in which footballs themselves contain chips, which respond to the magnetic force field on the goal line (Cairos Technologies with Adidas)
Adidas has developed the goal line technology in cooperation with Cairos Technologies.

Adidas has developed the goal line technology in cooperation with Cairos Technologies.

Although the system has proved successful in the recent years around the world and months in England it induces mixed feelings in footballers, experts and fans. Some believe that referee mistakes are part of the sport that should not be changed due to the game’s history and tradition.

I believe that the goal line technology is a step in the right direction for football. Mistakes have always been a part of the sport, however with so much money and feelings dependent on the results of games there is no room for mistakes. Just ask Frank Lampard.








4 responses to “Goal line technology in football: innovation vs. tradition”

  1. Michalcwiok says :

    thanks for the interesting article.

    It is true that football rules are quite conservative, when it comes to changing with the technology. In many other disciplines referees on daily basis use cameras to see, what exactly happened during a particular situation.

    In football (as spectators) also have live replays and can judge ourselves if e.g. there was a goal or not. Despite the fact that there are big screens on the football pitch, referees seem not to care about the replays and seldom change their decision.

    I believe this goal line technology is not a step forward, which will result it the game being more fair, but rather a dodge to aviod using cameras to more effectively judge the matches.

    But I am only wondering, what behing all those changes is.

  2. 359836me says :

    I would like to add something to your blog. In addition to the goal-line technology, why don’t they use cameras for more purposes.

    For example, the British Premier League alone generates 2.5 billion GBP a year. (Deliotte, 2014) A referee’s mistake can cost a club dozens of millions (for example, missing the Champions League). In the Dutch Eredivisie, it was estimated that Vitesse would have had 2.45 points extra if the referees didn’t make any mistakes (AD, 2014). However, making mistakes is human and I think referees cannot be blamed for this.

    However, the ‘football rule makers’ can be blamed for this. If you look at other sports, for example hockey, teams get two (correct me if I’m wrong) opportunities to review a certain situation which they think is doubtfull. If they are wrong, just go with the initial decision but if they are right the referee can solve its mistake immediately. This also creates the feeling for players that a game is fair. The FIFA sees ‘fair play’ as a high value of the sport. Seems like a contradiction, don’t you think?


    http://www.ad.nl/ad/nl/5610/Eredivisie/article/detail/3650666/2014/05/07/Alleen-Vitesse-is-door-scheidsrechters-echt-benadeeld.dhtml (Dutch)

  3. 340274re says :

    Nice and interesting topic!
    I am a soccer fan and I have been waiting for years for a solution for the many errors made by the referees. To be honest I was surprised with the introduction of the Goal Line Technology, because I never taught they would introduce IT and Technology in this sport. They always spoke about extra linesman etc.
    I agree with the fact that emotions and discussions are part of the sport, but personally I would like to see more of this kind of things introduced in this sport and that’s why I agree with you that it’s a step in the right direction. Just like you said, it’s a sport that had almost no revolutions, but it’s a sport with a really big followers group and where allot of decisive mistakes took place in the past. I think that the fact that the people ahead of the sport are mostly people that once played the game; they are scary that IT and Technology would change the nature of the game they love and that it may become a slow sport like for example the volleyball, cricket and tennis, that make good use of IT and Technology..
    I am wondering if they will apply more of this type of IT and technology further in the future in the soccer. For example: before giving yellow or red cards or by eliminating off-side goals.
    The main question still is: how much will it take before they make space for more IT and Technology into this sport?

    A good example hereby is the red card in the world cup 2002: Maybe here the referee should had a watch that communicates to him: “NO CARD”.

  4. 419833sl says :

    The decision of FIFA for micro-cameras at goals constitutes, so far, a half-hearted solution: applied, but only for large (expensive anyway and ‘special utility’) events.
    However, upon opening the floodgates, not just pleasantly cool breeze is released. There will be storms too and when already, as the report says, the Premier League is considering to adopt the system “as soon as possible”, what else will follow?
    At a cost of more than 300,000 euros for each field in order to apply the system, the Premier League will probably succeed, but it is very difficult to find imitators, even within the island. And if, in order not to stay behind in ‘reliability’, other major leagues follow the example i.e. Germany, Italy, Spain, it is almost certain that smaller leagues in these countries (or others) will not be able to follow the same purpose.
    Then what does this mean? Quite simply that even in these countries, a peculiar “racism”, a separation between “rich” and “poor” will take place. Especially between countries!
    That is why even UEFA is skeptical about such measures. Because it organizes the top club competition on the planet, the Champions League and accordingly wants to develop the Europa League. There is no intention, therefore, to make it mandatory for all clubs that participate in these two events to install a system costing 300,000 euros, especially when over half of these football clubs cannot afford such an amount not even for their three best players.
    Thus, if the measure is used as the tip of the iceberg, for example as a prerequisite for the final of the Champions League or Europa, the EURO and other major events, etc., then it is ok.
    Otherwise it will definitely cause a football of “two tiers”, there is no other outcome. And that is certainly not good for the central idea of the game.

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